Ireland is a republic and has a parliamentary system of government. The head of state is the elected President of Ireland who serves for a 7-year term. Ireland also has a prime minister (called the Taoiseach) who is nominated by the House of Representatives (called Dáil Éireann) and then appointed by the president. Besides the lower house, the House of Representatives, there is also an upper house, the Senate (or Seanad Éireann).
Though suffering from the recent Financial Crisis of 2008, Ireland has had an exceptionally strong globalized economy since its period of rapid growth from 1995-2000 (in which it earned the name “Celtic Tiger”). As part of the European Union, Ireland began circulating the Euro in 2002. While agriculture was once the largest sector of the Irish economy, it is now industry and services that make up the majority of Ireland’s economic activity. According to a study in 2005 by the The Economist, Ireland has the best quality of life in the world. Ireland’s GDP per capita in 2009 was US $42,200